Seeing a cat carrying case left by the road was surprising in itself. Even more unexpected, however, was finding a phenomenally famous feline inside it.
And despite its lack of features, it somehow managed to look suitably forlorn.
Prior to becoming a way-before-Bono benefactor, musician Bob Geldof once famously said that, “Most people get into bands for three very simple rock and roll reasons: to get laid, to get fame, and to get rich.”
A statement that may or indeed may not be true, although at least in relation to the former, even a man with the most meagre amount of musical ability can now pluck himself an absolute plethora of pussy.
Provided of course he’s willing to purchase it.
With the prices for state-of-the-art Japanese love dolls being almost as preposterous as some of their appendages, it’s perhaps not surprising that rental services, or even love doll love hotels, are popping up all over the place.
A business model that, in the long run at least, not only cuts down on staff costs, but also accommodation, although seeing Hello Kitty making the switch from merchandise to madam is mildly mind-blowing.
(image via Neta)
With countless Japanese shops crammed with more Hello Kitty crap than anyone could (surely) ever hope to purchase,
or indeed pay for,
However, this particular pussy repository apparently has very tight restrictions; with well-timed withdrawals the preferred procedure, and deposits almost definitely deemed out of the question.
In a bid to maintain its position as the premier purveyor of featureless feline fashion, Hello Kitty manufacturer, Sanrio, appears to have set itself the goal of emblazoning everything known to man with its all-conquering cat.
A practice that admittedly has worked wonders up to now, although there have been some far from reassuring rumbles of late, with the likes of the product pictured below causing some to suggest that the company has begun to poke its fingers into provinces that are patently inappropriate.
This previously unmentionable matter resulting in the once untouchable Japanese giant suffering some merciless muckraking, and even becoming the butt of some business-related jokes.
Plus, due to the currently far from stable financial climate, some analysts have gone so far as to suggest that the corporation could conceivably go bottoms up, although privately this has been poo-pooed by many.
Disney, and in particular its maddening little mouse, have a preposterously powerful grip on the Japanese psyche, with Tokyo Disneyland being the most visited theme park in the world. The mindboggling number of visitors almost allowing somebody to be singled out as a weirdo if they haven’t been welcomed into the magic kingdom at least once.
And then there’s the merchandise, which covers everything from t-shirts to, erm, tomatoes. Yes, after festooning every feasible object with cute little characters, Disney has now deemed it necessary to devour the dinner table.
There again, with Hello Kitty happily hawking sausages, then why not?
Tokyo Times is owned and run by me, Lee Chapman, a long-term resident of Tokyo who arrived in 1998 for ‘a year or two’, and, for a myriad of reasons, stayed put.
Japan means many things to many people, but Tokyo Times is how I see it. The places. The people. The day-to-day situations. All of it shot using a Leica, a Nikon and a selection of lenses.
My photographs have appeared in the Guardian and Japan Times, plus numerous magazines and books. Should you wish to use any, or simply ask a question, you can get in touch with me here.